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Hawaii Travel Tips

Oahu or Maui: Which Is the Best for You?

a sunset from the North Shore

Sun, sand, and excellent weather are all synonymous with Hawaii. With several islands to pick from, choosing which one to visit with your family can be a tall task. So, we ran through the activities, beaches, nightlife, and atmosphere to help you decide between Oahu or Maui! Which will you choose?

For more information on how to make the most of your trip to Hawaii, be sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide!

Choosing Between Oahu or Maui

Beaches

Oahu 

Figuring out which beaches fit your family trip is one of the most important factors when choosing between and Oahu or Maui vacation. Waikiki Beach is synonymous with beachgoers around the world as a haven for surfing and sunbathing. While it may gather all of the attention on Oahu, the North Shore provides some of the most extreme wave riding in the world. Waimanalo Beach and Hanauma Bay offer scenic and beautiful stretches of sand that offer great snorkeling.

Maui

While Maui may not have the big-ticket surfing that Oahu offers, it is home to many small, but stunning stretches of sand. Makena Beach, Wailea Beach, and Kapalua Bay Beach are among the best.

Activities

Oahu

Between outdoor activities such as snorkeling, surfing, and hiking to historical sites like Pearl Harbor and The Polynesian Cultural Center, there’s truly something for everyone on Oahu. Honolulu is the central activity hub, but venturing out to the North Shore and one of the forest reserves on the island are musts if you want to get out and explore.

Maui

Outdoor adventure is the top thing to do on Maui (other than relaxing on the beach). Driving the Road to Hana, watching the sunrise from the top of Haleakela, snorkeling at Molokini, diving, and watching windsurfers from Kanaha Beach are just a handful of the fun things to do on the island.

Nightlife

Oahu 

Honolulu is the hub for nightlife on Oahu. Here, there are plenty of wine bars, clubs, dive bars, shows, and more. Of course, if you venture outside of the city, you’ll find luaus and entertainment rooted in Hawaiian culture. 

Maui

This may be the most distinct difference when choosing between Oahu or Maui for your vacation. Maui is all about exploring and relaxing, so you will find limited nightlife options. Other than a classic Hawaiian luau, Lahaina is home to a collection of bars and shows (but most don’t stay open past midnight).

Atmosphere

Oahu

Oahu has something for everyone. From the North Shore to the bustling streets of Honolulu, you’ll find fast-paced city life and relaxed country happenings and everything in between, so you don’t have to choose! It’s all here on our island!

Maui 

Maui offers more of a relaxed and rural atmosphere. Posh beach resorts make way to gorgeous forests in upcountry at the base of Haleakala. If you aren’t a fan of cities and want to explore the outdoors, Maui is a great island to visit.

Plan Your Hawaii Experiencea table setting overlooking the water

Private Homes Hawaii is your key to the ultimate vacation on Oahu and the Big Island. Our collection of top-notch luxury properties features amenities that are second to none, beautiful furnishings, and locations on or near the water. Are you ready to experience the best that Hawaii has to offer?

Start planning your trip today by booking one of our properties. We look forward to welcoming you to our island paradise.

Your Guide to the Ultimate Hawaii Packing List

packing for vacation

Planning a vacation to the Aloha State involves quite a bit of time and effort, but with some help, you and your family will be relaxing our beautiful beaches in no time. Our Hawaii packing list breaks down everything you need to bring (and everything you don’t). So, are you ready to venture to our paradise?

For more information on how to make the most of your trip to Hawaii, be sure to consult our complimentary Vacation Guide!

How to Create Your Hawaii Packing List

Clothing

Are you wondering what to put on your Hawaii packing list? Comfortable and casual clothing are your keys to success! The Aloha State’s warm weather calls for T-shirts, shorts, sunglasses, and hats. We also suggest packing a pair of pants (jeans or khakis) and a sweater for those occasional windy nights if you want to stay out for a night of stargazing. To limit laundry, do your best to pack pieces that are versatile so you can mix-and-match your outfits. It will save you tons of suitcase space (and time)!

Also, try not to overpack shoes and socks. Flip flops are the footwear of choice on the islands. If you want to enjoy all of the hiking, biking, and other land activities on our beautiful islands, bring one pair of athletic shoes.

Dress Like a Local: Many local women prefer loose, waist-free sundresses to shorts or pants because dresses allow more air to circulate.

Toiletries

Toiletries are some of the most difficult and frustrating parts of packing for any trip. Luckily, the Big Island and Oahu will have everything you need at stores near you. Don’t worry about packing things like sunscreen or bug spray with you (although you likely pay a higher price than back home). The convenience is worth it. We recommend packing a quart-sized bag of liquids, gels, creams, and any other must-haves you need in your checked bag.

Our Tip: If you don’t use sunscreen, you will be in for a rude awakening. Hawaii is closer to the equator than the U.S. mainland, so it only takes an hour or two to get a sunburn that will make you very uncomfortable for the rest of your trip. Trust us; make sure you lather up before enjoying any outdoor activities! You will also want to grab some aloe from the store.

Travel Essentials

With all the excitement surrounding a trip to our island, it’s easy to leave behind essentials while writing up your Hawaii packing list. Some necessities that you will need include cell phone chargers, health insurance cards (just in case), your wallet (with driver’s license and credit cards), tickets/travel vouchers, and a passport if you’re not a U.S. citizen. You’ll also want to bring along your camera with you to capture all of the incredible moments on your Hawaii vacation!

Plan Your Hawaii Vacationvacation rental with pool, palm trees, and colorful sky

Are you searching for the ultimate Hawaiian getaway? Well, look no further than Private Homes Hawaii. Our collection of luxury rentals provides the perfect opportunity to explore the Big Island and Oahu. With incredible locations and top-notch accommodations, you and your family can create memories that will last a lifetime.

Start planning your Hawaiian adventure by booking one of our properties. We look forward to welcoming you to our island paradise!